Oxford University Gliding Club and Cambridge University Gliding Club (CUGC) take each other on in an annual varsity match. Exceptional OUGC pilots, who score well, act with great sportsmanship and make the best use of the conditions may be awarded a half-blue.
Who can compete
The OUGC team is selected in Trinity term, and spend a few weeks honing their soaring technique before the match in 9th week of Trinity. Everyone, from pre-solo to highly experienced pilots can take part. The only requirement is to be able to soar well. Pre-solo pilots can fly with a instructor, however the instructor is not allowed to touch the controls during the soaring section of the flight, only during take-off and landing.
Flights are scored from a GPS trace, taken from the FLARM device carried in all OUGC and CUGC gliders. Points are awarded for duration, 1 point per minute up to 50 minutes. After 50 minutes 6 penalty points per minute are given. This is done to prevent pilots from monopolising the days best conditions. Points are also awarded for height gain, 2 points per 100ft. Each climb must exceed 500ft, otherwise no points are awarded for the climb.
Every pilot submits their best flight on the day.
Both teams have to submit an equal amount of flights each day.
Each day’s results are normalized by the median-scoring flight (which will be set to 100 points, and the other flights adjusted accordingly).
The team with the highest combined score after three days wins.
If weather conditions prevent soaring on all three days, then a spot-landing competition can be held as alternative format.
At no part during the flight should the glider exceed Va (Max maneuvering speed).
The flight needs to conclude with a normal circuit, and the final turn completed above 300ft QFE.
Find out more
One of the best ways to find out what competing in the varsity competition is like is to read some of our reports.
The 2019 report can be found here (Oxford win).
The 2018 report can be found here (narrow Cambridge win).
The 2017 report is here. (Oxford win).